As the weather gets warmer, the days get longer, and trips to the beach become more frequent, it is safe to say tote bag season is officially upon us. Totes are the best way to carry around all your necessities, books, and bulky water bottles.
Since your new favorite tote bag is being put to good use, that also means it's going to get a bit dirty. No one wants to be seen carrying around a grungy tote bag, but running the bag through a washing machine is a hassle and wasteful.
We are here to tell you that you can freshen up your tote quickly and efficiently and without even throwing it in the washing machine! Keep reading to learn all about the best breezy care tips for your tote bag.
Avoid the Washing Machine
Depending on the kind of fabric your favorite tote is made from, you can hypothetically run it through the washing machine. However, we urge you to choose an alternate washing routine for your bag.
To ensure that your tote doesn't become stained or shrunken, you would likely need to run an entire cycle with only your bag. Everyone needs to do laundry, and while washing machines aren't inherently bad, it can be wasteful to only put your tote through the wash.
Energy and water are used every time you run something through the wash. A large chunk of your average water use comes from your washing machine. Doing laundry is a necessary part of daily life — we can't all walk around in grimy clothes. However, we can try to minimize the number of loads we run each year, which is why it would be a waste of water, energy, and time to do a cycle exclusively for your tote.
We all can strive to lead more sustainable lives, and avoiding using your washing machine is a great way to improve your own ecological footprint!
Sometimes our totes don't even require a heavy-duty wash but just a quick touch-up to look nice and fresh. We have accumulated a handful of the best tips to freshen up your tote bag, and none of them require a washing machine!
Keep reading and discover which helpful trick will work for you.
Tip 1. Hand Wash with Detergent
Just because you aren't going to be running your tote through the wash doesn't mean you shouldn't make use of your laundry detergent.
If your tote bag is looking especially grungy and needs a full makeover, grab your laundry detergent and prepare to do a little hands-on cleaning. Your washing machine isn't necessary, but a mild detergent will help get the job done.
It might feel out of place using detergent by hand, but detergents function like a stronger soap and will clean your clothes and tote right up, no matter how you use it.
We recommend first rinsing your bag in warm water to get it nice and soaked. Next, apply the detergent to your tote bag, paying close attention to any stains or spots that need some extra care. Wipe and dab your tote with a white cloth, and once you are satisfied with your bag's appearance, you can rinse it off with warm water. Be sure to get all the detergent off.
Once your bag looks fresh and clean, we recommend air drying it for the best results. As much as we want you to avoid using your washing machine, you will especially want to refrain from tossing your tote in the dryer. The dryer will not only waste energy, but you might also find that the heat from the machine will shrink and ruin your bag.
Tip 2. Baking Soda for Stains
Sometimes our totes just need a bit of a freshening without a full-on wash. Perhaps you smudged some dirt on the exterior of the bag or maybe something spilled inside, leaving an unpleasant stain (and smell). Baking soda is here to address those annoying spots on your tote.
Baking soda is convenient and reliable when it comes to addressing stains and odors. The baking soda and vinegar together create a solution that is perfect for breaking down stains. You'll need a tablespoon of baking soda, a teaspoon of vinegar, and a tablespoon of water. Combine them all together to make a stain removal paste, and apply it to the areas of your tote bag that need to be cleaned.
You can take a clean rag or even an unused toothbrush to scrub in the baking soda paste and remove the unwanted spots and stains. Once you are satisfied with the results, all you need to do is rinse off those specific areas with some warm water, and leave it out to dry.
This method allows you to freshen up your bag without having to soak the entire tote, and it uses natural materials like baking soda and vinegar to address those unwanted stains. Everything about this tip is easy and sustainable.
Tip 3. Toothpaste for Unwanted Spots
Yes, you read that right. Toothpaste can be used for more than just your dental hygiene. It sounds strange, but trust us, toothpaste is a great source for removing ugly, unwanted spots on your tote bag.
This hack requires that you use white, non-gel toothpaste. Other kinds of toothpaste could potentially stain your bag, which would make the whole cleaning process more difficult. If you have white, non-gel toothpaste in your house, use it to remove stains from your tote bag ASAP.
Similarly to the baking soda tip, all you have to do is apply a small, pea-sized amount of toothpaste to the areas of your tote that you want clean and scrub it down with a toothbrush (preferably a toothbrush that you don't use on your teeth), or a gentle rag. In no time, you will see the stain on your tote vanish.
When you are satisfied with your toothpaste's work, rinse the now-clean areas with water to remove any toothpaste residue, and leave your bag sitting out to dry. Once your tote is completely dry, all those previous spots will have completely vanished, and your bag will look as good as new!
This tip is a bit unconventional, but it is a convenient and effective way to remove unwanted stains from your tote bag.
Tip 4. Use Your Kitchen Sponge
Everybody has a supply of sponges. We all need them to wipe down our sinks and counters and to scrub our dishes before we run them through the dishwasher. Now that you have joined the tote bag trend, your kitchen sponge can also be used to clean your bag and keep it looking fresh.
Whether you want to do a full-blown wash of your tote, or need to address a few problem areas, a sponge is a great tool to effectively get your tote bag ready for a day at the beach.
To wash your entire tote bag, clean your sink and then fill it with water. Soak your tote in the sink. Put a small amount of soap on your sponge and wash it in a gentle rubbing motion, being sure to dunk and rinse the bag in water as you go. Sponges were meant to scrub and get spots out, so they're the perfect tool to ensure your tote becomes spotless.
Once you are done, rinse your tote with water and be sure to get any leftover soap off, and then leave it out to air dry.
If you just need to address some minor stains and don't want to give the entire bag a cleansing, a sponge will also come in handy. Simply soak your sponge and dab and rub the parts of your bag that are stained until the spots disappear. As always, be sure to rinse the problem spots off with water and then leave them sitting out to air dry.
Your kitchen sponge will get the tough stains out and make your favorite tote bag look as fresh as it did the first day you got it.
Spotless Totes in No Time
Tote bags are wonderful accessories, but just like any other garment, they can get a bit filthy. It is wasteful and unnecessary to run your tote through the washing machine. You also don't want to run the risk of shrinking it or accidentally color-dyeing it. Thankfully, there are a handful of tips you can try to clean your tote quickly and sustainably.
Whether you have a canvas bag or an eco-friendly Daily Eight Tote Bag from KOKOLU, any one of the tricks mentioned above will keep your tote in pristine condition.
From toothpaste to a quick rinse with some detergent, there are many ways to make your tote spotless without wasting energy on machine-powered products. Following any of these four tips will make your tote fresh and clean in no time!